In the United States, Christmastime and thoughts of home just go together. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and “There’s No Place like Home for the holidays,” are two of the most popular holiday songs, year after year. Whether lighting candles and having a time of family prayer during Advent, or decorating a Christmas tree, or caroling through a neighborhood, or hosting festive “open house” parties for friends, neighbors, and colleagues. It’s all about home.
Advent and Christmas Season are about another kind of homecoming, the homecoming of Christ to redeem and renew us, this earth, and all creation till “heaven and nature sing’ with joy eternally. The Scriptures the church uses for Advent focus first on the final fulfillment, and later at the beginning of that fulfillment in Jesus. As they seek God’s joyous desire, they also make plain just how far from it we have been and challenge us with just how far we have to go, ourselves, to begin to live into it.
This year’s Advent and Christmas Season series embraces the secular seasonal metaphor of homecoming to wrap the challenging biblical texts this season gives us. Each week’s service will invite us to “unwrap” something that leads us toward making our lives, our families, our communities, and our world more like the home Christ’s ultimate homecoming will make it be.